What’s inside your box?

What’s inside your box?

Posted by Stacey Pilcher

Sometimes there are special things inside a box.

Sometimes we are told to think outside the box.

But what if you had a box full of holes? Advantage or disadvantage?  Well, it would be easier to get outside the box and more things could get into the box. . .

It turns out that strong filters limit creativity in business, whereas porous, or even no filters let information in and keep our creative wheels turning. Shelly Carson, a professor at Harvard University and author of “Your Creative Brain”, says people should “Learn, learn, learn! Second, try not to judge the things you’re learning. Keep an open mind. Everything you learn is a possible element that may make its way into some future creative idea that you can’t even imagine today.”

Think about those people that have traveled extensively, are avid readers, speak multiple languages, can recite Shakespeare, and are constantly learning new things.  Their heads are chocked full of information tidbits. In everyday situations, these bits emerge uncontrollably to illuminate ideas. It’s sometimes random, sometimes disruptive, and usually creative. Why?

The most successful creative people I’ve met in my career have all kinds of information tucked away in their heads. Imagine the assignment is a new type of car seat. The conversations start, you head down a rabbit hole, you emerge with a song in your head – making you think of your childhood and ‘Voila’ an idea emerges on how to connect emotionally with a mother.

Disruption and diversity affect outcomes in groups. Katherine Phillips’ work at Columbia University illustrates how disruption can increase success and creativity in business. Basically, she found that three friends and a stranger can solve a problem with greater success than four friends. (“Three friends and a stranger” might make a good sitcom, too.)

So put some holes in your box. Let some strangers inside. Step outside and learn something new. Energize your creativity.

To learn more, follow me on twitter @pilcheretal, connect on LinkedIn or sign up for email updates.

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